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Trend Alert! 5 Must-Know Facts about Gel Pens

Recently, gel ink pens have become significantly popular, particularly among doodlers, calligraphists, writers, or work-from-home professionals. Their smooth writing characteristics make for a delightful experience brought out by the demand for simplicity and creativity during the height of the global pandemic. 2022 report from DataIntello1 projects, gel ink pens are going to keep growing in popularity, expanding by more than 40% over the next decade (approximately 5.5% a year).  

So now you may ask, what makes gel ink pens so unique? Are gel ink pens always the best choice? These are great questions and a promising trend worth talking a little about, so here are some key factors to choosing gel:

1. Smooth Writing Sophistication

The writing experience is one of the most important features when selecting a pen. Gel pens use water-based ink which lowers the ink’s viscosity when compared to ballpoint ink, helping the point glide smoothly over surfaces. The flowing writing experience makes them ideal for longer writing sessions, minimizing both effort and fatigue.  

2. Bold, Vibrant & Permanent

Due to their highly pigmented blend of materials, gel ink pens lay down a more solid, opaque trail of ink that settles deeper into the substrate’s surface; providing bolder, more vibrant lines. When dried, the pigment-based ink becomes UV stable and more permanent, making them less subject to being chemically washed from secure documents such as checks and legal papers. 

3. Availability of Colors & Options

The growing trend of gel pens increases the availability of options, helping to match various branding needs and color palettes. Products such as The Islander Gel Collection offer single and full-color decoration and a choice of 40+ color/trim combinations in both black and blue ink options. Other new and notable collections include the popular Phoenix Gel and Kappa Gel designs that offer both traditional corporate colors and brighter, more contemporary hues.

Certainly, gel ink pens are quite trendy right now, but it’s important to keep in mind that choosing gel ink over a traditional ballpoint pen might involve some trade-offs. When looking for the right product, it’s worth considering a few additional factors:  

4. Extended Dry Time

Oil-based inks use a higher percentage of alcohol in the ink mixture which is key component in transferring the ink from the tip of the pen to its intended substrate. Due to alcohol’s higher dissipation rate, it evaporates almost instantly, quickly drying the ink and drastically reducing the chance of smearing. Gel ink on the other hand uses a higher percentage of water, evaporating less quickly, and taking just a few additional seconds to dry. This increases the likeliness of smearing, making gel ink less of an ideal choice for left-handed writers. Writing or doodling on coated paper and smooth surfaces also becomes more difficult as it requires a longer period to fully dry.

5. Thinner is not always better

While gel pens flow smoother and provide a higher color density than ballpoint ink, the thinner liquid consistency allows for ink to be used at a much faster rate and is more prone to leakage. You will find that many gel pens use a “cap-off” style body versus the more popular “click-action” design, which by storing the tip vertically, reduces the possibility of leakage.  

Though choosing a pen is as much of a personal choice as your favorite food or clothing brand, these smooth writing features make them a popular choice ideal for a broad range of professionals and personalities alike. We celebrate those Teachers, Technicians, Administrators, Healthcare Workers, Real Estate Agents, Law practitioners and so many others who join us in fulfilling that “gel-tastic” writing experience for their next meeting, event, or promotion. 

Check out all of our cool gel pens here!